1971 – 2000

Year Media / Picture / Video  
1971 Robert Merrill, M.D. Robert Merrill, M.D.  – Chairman, Department of Pediatrics 1971 – 1974. Robert Merrill, M.D., resigned as Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics in 1974
1974 Voice of Bob Arrington, M.D.


Acting Chairman, Department of Pediatrics 1974-1975 . Dr. W. T. (Tom) Dungan assumed the role of interim chair. “They formed a search committee as they always do and they put Bob Fiser, a young Associate Professor who had recently joined the faculty, on the search committee and they looked for six months and they had several potential people to be interviewed. Nobody wanted this job because it was not a prime job in Pediatrics at that point – small faculty, trapped in adult hospital, where only obstetrics was our counterpart





In 1975, the year Dr. Robert Fiser was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UAMS, there were 15 faculty members. These included Drs. Rosalind Abernathy, Alice Beard, Lee Berry, Jack Bornhofen, Roosevelt Brown, Florence Char, Harold Decker, Joycelyn Elders, Robert Fiser, Horace Green, Margaret Harrison, Manfred Morris, Neal Sims, and Tom Dungan. Dr. Robert Arrington joined the faculty shortly before Dr. Fiser was named chair.

Robert Fiser, M.D., appointed the 5th full-time Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Robert Fiser was raised in Morrilton and attended Arkansas Tech and Hendrix College. He graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine in 1966. He trained in Pediatrics at UAMS and William Beaumont General Hospital in El Paso, TX, and at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He continued his training with an Endocrinology Fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles, where he joined the faculty as an Associate Professor and Associate Program Director for the UCLA Clinical Studies Center. Dr. Fiser returned to UAMS in 1973.

Dr. Fiser was appointed Chair of the Department of Pediatrics in 1975, the youngest Pediatric Department Chair in the country at the age of 32.

1975 Dr. J.B. Norton, the first major recruit by Dr. Robert Fiser, served as Chief of Cardiology from 1975 to 1996.

(Video coming soon)


Dr. Norton recalled his early days at ACH. “There were a lot of major challenges. When I first arrived there was no facility at the little Children’s Hospital for subspecialists of any kind so I was based at the University Hospital, which had a very meager Pediatric facility. We didn’t have a real pediatric heart surgeon to work with. I needed to find a pediatric heart surgeon. I needed a facility to really care for the children with complex heart disease and I needed a cardiac catheterization lab. I explained what we needed at a board meeting at the Children’s Hospital. Dr. Richard Readinger was the first Cardiologist hired by Dr. Norton who joined Drs. Tom Dungan and Florence Char. By the time of his retirement in 1996, Dr. Norton had added 8 new pediatric cardiologists, including Drs. Sylvia Angtuaco, Renee Bornemeier, Chris Erickson, Elizabeth Frazier, Ernest Keil, Michele Moss, Richard Readinger, and Paul Seib.
1976 Dr. Daisilee Berry began treating patients in the Hematology/Oncology Clinic in 1976

Betty Lowe, M.D., started the Rheumatology Clinic to assist in the treatment of children Rheumatoid Arthritis and other connective tissue diseases.

1978 Watson Arnold, M.D., serves as Chief of Nephrology from 1978 to 1990. Dr. Watson Arnold, who served as Chief of Nephrology from 1978 to 1990, performed the first renal dialysis treatment in 1978, and the Children’s Renal Dialysis Center opened in 1979. The Arkansas Children’s Developmental Center opened in 1979 under the leadership of Dr. Pat Casey. The center’s multidisciplinary team provided diagnosis, evaluation, and recommendations for follow-up treatment for children with a broad array of developmental disabilities.
1979 By the end of 1975, Dr. Fiser had recruited several new faculty who played major roles in the growth of the department and ACH. Dr. J.B. Norton was recruited from San Antonio to grow Cardiology as well as to help in recruiting new faculty. He continued as Chief of Cardiology and oversaw considerable growth during his years as chief until 1996. Dr. Terry Yamauchi, the first Pediatric Infectious Disease specialist in the department, was a fellow at UCLA and best friends there with Dr. Fiser. Along with his work as an excellent clinician, teacher, and researcher, Dr. Yamauchi served for several years as director of the Department of Human Services under Governor Bill Clinton. The aggressive recruiting continued in 1976. Dr. Joanna Seibert, who served a Chief of Radiology for several decades at ACH, and Dr. Robert Seibert, who served as Chief of ENT at ACH, joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics and served in their roles for 39 years. Dr. Elders recalled, “Dr. Joanna Seibert is a world renowned radiologist and she interpreted radiology in a way we had never seen before. She is very smart, very good and loved to teach and she would make rounds with us. Dr. Arrington commented, “I’ll say she taught me more neonatology than anybody ever because she knows a lot about everything.” A major recruiting success was that of Dr. Betty Lowe. She served as Medical Director of ACH until her retirement.

• Moved to Children’s Hospital 1979
• Faculty grew from 24 to 140
• Residents increased from 10 to 39 plus 8 med-peds
• Development of research institute, nutrition center, developmental center

By the academic year 1979-1980, the Department of Pediatrics included 39 faculty members.

There were 18 residents in the 1975-1976 academic year. These included: Barry Allen, Zuhair Bakdoud, John Campbell, William Clardy, William Collie, James Crestwell, Jorge Figueroa, Eric Fraser, Richard “Whit” Hall, Morris Kletzel, Paulette Johnson, Paul Drew Meredith, Jarlath Mitchell, Richard Nestrud, Rosalina Pagtakhan, Sam Shultz, Paul Smith, and Vern Ann Williams.

The number of pediatric residents had grown to 37 residents in the 1979-1980 academic year

1993 Jocelyn Elders, M.D., appointed as the first African American Surgeon General of the United States
1994 Terry Yamauchi, M.D., – Acting Chairman, Department of Pediatrics 1994 – 1995
1995 Debra Fiser, M.D., becomes Chair of the Department of Pediatrics